January 16

“The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love; teach me your statutes.”  Psalm 119:64

“All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” 
2 Timothy 3:16

Some learn easily by reading while others need to be told.  Some can figure things out by themselves, hands-on, trial and error.  There are “do it yourself” (DIY) manuals – “for dummies” even.  We learn from history and stories; from our senses and awareness of events happening around us; from observing others – (with heartfelt thanks) family, teachers, elders and friends. 

All Robert Fulghum [needed to know he learned kindergarten].  It’s a good list to live by:  take good care of your space, treat others fairly, hold hands – support each other, look.  There is another such list – not suggestions but Commandments, as the saying goes.  We should honor and show our love for God.  And we shouldn’t disrespect our elders, kill, steal, gossip, or crave what belongs to others.  Growing up I was required to memorize many Bible verses, and Luther’s Small Catechism including the Ten Commandments.  Book smarts help pass a Confirmation exam but what have I truly learned if I don’t live out the words stored in my brain?  What am I teaching others when I behave badly and mistreat others?  Though expected to obey God’s Commandments, we aren’t left on our own to figure things out.  God sent Jesus to live among us, full of grace and truth.  Jesus used stories to explain his message of loving our neighbors, and the dangers of storing up wealth and possessions.  Some of Jesus’ last words to his friends were a “new” commandment to “Love one another.”  Then he died and redeemed us, from all our failures.

Dear God, Thank you for your grace and mercy, for Jesus’ message of peace and compassion.  We ask for your help to follow your commands to love you with all our hearts, souls and minds; and our neighbors as ourselves.  Amen

Verla Olson